She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
I have a secret to share with you. Someday, if God ever blesses me with a little girl, I want to give her the middle name Charity. I love that name, both because it’s pretty and because I’m all about name meanings. While I might love the sound of a particular name, if I don’t love the meaning — if it doesn’t carry any weight, any significance — it’s stricken from my list. I might use it for a potential book character, but never for a child.
Charity. I want my (someday maybe) daughter to be tenderhearted and sincerely gracious to everyone. I want her to challenge me with her desire to serve. I want her to love like Jesus loves, and that’s what I see in this verse. No hesitation, no questioning, no excuse-making. Just loving.
I read the verse above in the NASB, and it was just too familiar. I “got” it. Yep, she helps the poor.
It didn’t impact me at all, so I read it in one of my favorite translations, which I discovered on Biblegateway.com. Just about every time I look up a verse in this version, it comes alive to me in a whole new way, and that’s what happened here. It put flesh and heart to this verse for me. See if it does the same thing for you:
She reaches out to embrace the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
-Proverbs 31:20, Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
This is not handing a couple of bucks to a bum with a sign.
This is not writing a check for a charity drive.
This is not making your teenager work in a soup kitchen at Christmas.
This is not gathering up unwanted items and asking Goodwill to come get them.
This is not emptying the change jar to help your kid’s VBS team win.
This is embracing.
This is opening yourself.
This is necessarily inconvenient.
This is inevitably sacrificial.
This is gritty.
This is real.
This is a lifestyle.
This is evidence of a heart totally transformed by Jesus Christ.
This is not a verse that describes me, and this is a major problem.
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My Son, find a woman who truly considers others before herself. She will teach you much about Christ’s love that I have failed to show you.
My Love, pray for me.
My Lord, change me.
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